Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Engagement, or stalking, when someone learns a LOT about their pitch target?

You can't win.

There are times that marketers are completely clueless about the people to whom they're marketing. I know that I've read examples from Steven Hodson (and others) where someone tries to market something to Hodson, but apparently has no idea what makes Hodson tick, and what makes Hodson get ticked off. For example, there was a period in the spring where the WinExtra blog did not exist - Hodson had launched Shooting at Bubbles, but hadn't relaunched WinExtra yet - but some so-called PR professionals didn't get the message, as you can see from this pitch that Hodson received:

On Monday of this week CBS launched an unprecedented ad campaign promoting some of its shows in ahead of the upfronts. Fresh data released by us last Friday suggests that DVRs may spoil the game for them.

Since WinExtra has been recognized as one of the most influential marketing blogs, we would like to share this press release with you from our study.

Or maybe it's saying something that one of the "most influential marketing blogs" was a blog that, at the time, didn't even exist. Hodson's reaction:

This is just another example of how little marketers and PR flacks even pay attention to the world of social media and the people that they are suppose to be reaching out to.

So you'd think that if a marketer took the time to get to know bloggers and journalists, it would be great, right?

Not so fast. There's an organization that has taken great pains to learn about the people who report about the organization. That organization is the U.S. military:

Stars & Stripes broke the news that U.S. military media handlers in Afghanistan have been rating embedded reporters according to their sympathy towards U.S. war aims. Turns out this was an open secret among veterans of the Kabul beat.

While some look at this as a wonderful example of understanding the media, others look at it less charitably. P.J. Tobia, while praising the military for not being clueless about those reporting about it, noted:

“I do think the reports are creepy though. These guys have read almost everything I’ve written in the last few years, even interviews I’ve given to local news blogs. Reading this report is like perusing the diary of your stalker.”

So if you know too little about the person to whom you're pitching, you get branded as clueless. If you know too much about the person to whom you're pitching, you get branded as a stalker.

You can't win.
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